Making sure business has a hand in shaping the outcome of Britain’s exit from the EU will be the focus of a major conference this week.
Business is already beginning to feel the impact of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The fall in the value of Sterling has made it cheaper to buy UK goods abroad but the price of imports is rising, making products manufactured overseas more expensive on UK shop shelves. And fuel prices at the pump have risen as a result of the lower value of Sterling, which will contribute to rising inflation.
Against that backdrop, the quarterly productivity figures released last month showed stability – rising 0.5% in the three months since the Brexit vote compared with 0.4% in the first quarter and 0.7% in quarter two. Most of that stability was down to growth in the service sector (0.8%) while construction, manufacturing and production all showed slower growth.
But there is still considerable concern about what form negotiations will take following the invoking of Article 50 next March, what further impact there will be on business immediately afterwards and whether Government will support sectors likely to be hit hardest by Brexit – such as manufacturing, where the region’s original equipment manufacturers are closely monitoring developments in their sectors. Companies that currently employ workers from EU countries have yet to be told what the status of those workers will be post-Brexit.
All of these issues are creating doubt and uncertainty for British businesses. How they are expected to play out and their impact on the national and regional economy will be among the topics under discussion at a State of the Economy Conference being staged by East Midlands Chamber this week.
With an audience of business leaders from across the region, key speakers and panellists at the event will include Nicky Morgan – MP for Loughborough and Lilian Greenwood – MP for Nottingham South, who will offer a political perspective.
The economic landscape will be discussed by Patrick McGee – Chief Operating Officer at the British Business Bank, Ryan Bourne – Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Emma Titmus – of Primary Markets at the London Stock Exchange Group, Jochen Schnadt – Chief Commercial Officer at bmi regional and Mark Williams – Business Development Director at Van Elle.
A second discussion group under the heading of Shaping a Great Future – Envisaging a Successful East Midlands Economy Post-Brexit, will include Garry Mowbray – Director of Finance at Bombardier Transportation, Nick Freeman – Assistant General Manager of Corporate Planning and External Affairs at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK), John Bowater – Chief Finance Officer & Deputy Chief Executive at Aggregate Industries and Bill McElroy – UK MD Advisory at Turner & Townsend.
The event, which immediately follows the Chamber’s annual general meeting at Derby’s iPro stadium on Thursday (3 November) afternoon (starting at 2.30pm), aims to capture key messages for Ministerial attention as the Government advances Brexit and devolution. Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “This conference, and what will come out of it, is all about business not being passive as Brexit unfolds, but taking a central role and building on this region’s strengths to help shape the vision for what a successful East Midlands economy should look like in a future outside the EU.”
The event closes with an informal drinks and canapes reception which will give delegates a chance for high-level networking and to continue discussions in a less formal environment. Further details about the conference, sponsored by bmi regional and Santander, are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01246 212533.